Monterey Institute of International Studies - Spanish
Thread poster: barlovento
barlovento
United States
English to Spanish
May 21

Hello everyone!

I am a native Spanish speaker with about 5 years of sales/translation experience in Silicon Valley. I was recently admitted into the Monterey's Institute of International Studies MA in Translation and Interpretation. I am very interested in attending as I want to develop my skills as an interpreter, BUT, I am a little put off by the costs (around 80K-90K) that will be mostly covered by student loans. I have heard mixed reviews about the program, but for most people, it has been a great investment. Is it worth it to get into such debt for the degree? Or is it better to save my money and get more experience (and possibly complete a postgraduate certificate)? Any input will be greatly appreciated!


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:43
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No May 22

On the basis of financial considerations alone, and even assuming the program is excellent.

If you have the necessary talent, you should be able to acquire the skills and knowledge to be an interpreter with a combination of self-guided interpreter training, workshops, and your own efforts. Interpreter training may even be offered for free as part of the state-certification process in the state where you live.


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The Misha
Local time: 07:43
Russian to English
+ ...
Sounds like a total rip-off to me May 22

Unlike what someone said in today's poll, ours IS a trade (which, basically, means we can actually DO something, creating value, rather than just blabber and push papers around). It's a skill, first and foremost, which means it is primarily developed by hands-on training and repetition (oh, OK, I simplify a bit), i.e., by DOING rather than learning the "deep and meaningful" pseudo-scientific bull they will most likely try cramming down your throat at that place. Most of the successful simultaneous interpreters I know in my main pair have never been to any "interpreter school". They learned by doing.

There is yet another aspect to this. Just like with writing, visual art or math, the special talent needed for doing successful simultaneous interpretation is to a large extent a natural predisposition. Your either have it, or you don't. If you don't, no amount of training will ever help you rise above the level of barely sufficient mediocrity. Me, I am very good at what I do, and that includes consecutive interpretation too. However, simultaneous is a different kettle of fish altogether. I tried it a few times as a younger man and knew right away it wasn't my thing. Case closed. You'd probably know too. Soon. Well before you have a chance to spend all that money.

[Edited at 2017-05-22 13:17 GMT]


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes and no May 22

Wow, $80 to $90K to study? On one hand, I'm with Robert here: you may acquire the necessary experience by starting at a comfortable bottom (consecutive interpreting, for example, in small assignments). There are many resources (printed and online) for interpreters, as well as interpreting associations with both resources and members' expertise and mentoring.

Now, if you still want an interpreting degree, I suggest you go to a traditional university with a reputable and solid interpreting program...in Europe! Yes, it's far cheaper there (or here, as I'm in Lisbon, Portugal at this moment).

The American tradition for training translators and interpreters is sorely lacking compared to other corners of the world. I'm in my second semester of a PhD in Translation and Terminology, studying at two respected Portuguese universities. The whole 4-year PhD costs 6,000 euros. Other European countries offer solid programs a song, compared to what American universities are charging.


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:43
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Talent May 23

The Misha wrote:
There is yet another aspect to this. Just like with writing, visual art or math, the special talent needed for doing successful simultaneous interpretation is to a large extent a natural predisposition. Your either have it, or you don't. If you don't, no amount of training will ever help you rise above the level of sufficient mediocrity


This is an important point, and one that I alluded to in my own post.

I do not know how Monterrey and other such programs operate, but I would hope that they qualify their students in the same way that a good Engineering program would (i.e., by assuring that they have met certain requirements predictive of success in the program and later professional success as an interpreter).

If not, then the student risks throwing a lot of money down the drain only to discover one fine day that he or she was never meant to be an interpreter.

There are far cheaper ways to test the waters (and, in the end, to acquire the skills and abilities needed to be a professional interpreter - if one has the talent to do so).


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barlovento
United States
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Helpful advice May 23

I appreciate everyone's input. Thank you!

@Robert Forstag, for family reasons I'll have to move eventually to the NYC area, so I might be better researching local workshops and training options there.

@The Misha: Your point is completely valid. I have done some interpretation on the side but always wondered if with a formal (and expensive) training I might get better, but as you said, it is a skill learned by doing.

@Mario Chavez: Thank you for your advice. I'm curious to learn about why you chose Lisbon of other places in Europe. The PhD sounds like a solid program.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
To barlovento May 25

Interesting word choice: a maritime term to indicate the direction of wind, I presume.

I'll be happy to share the Lisbon-related info, barlovento. But I am reluctant to talk to just a nickname with no profile here. I'm sure you'll understand.


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